Invest in Seafaring, don’t Criminalize it, warns ISMA President

Monday, April 11, 2005
EUROPE should look to institute laws that reward those choosing the sea as a career instead of singling out seafarers as scapegoats in pollution initiatives, the President of the International Ship Managers’ Association (ISMA) has warned.

Invited to Brussels earlier this week [Tuesday April 5th] to address a high level delegation from the Directorate General for Energy and Transport which included Fotis Karamitsos, Director for Maritime Transport and Jacques Michaux, Deputy Head, Rajaish Bajpaee said that in the face of shortages of quality seafarers, the responsibilities of a seafaring profession can best be met by induction of the best youth into seafaring from grass root levels.

“Scapegoating of seafarers for pollution incidents is turning the youth away and disenchanting existing seafarers with the prestige of their profession. Investment in training on sanctity and custodianship of the oceans and awareness of seafaring as a unique service to humanity promises a far greater preservation of the oceans than legislation on criminalizing the entire profession,” he stressed.

While acknowledging that self-regulation is the only way to achieve sustainable high quality in shipping, Mr Bajpaee suggested that where political regulation could be of value is in a reward-based scheme for direct entry to sea careers.

He stressed: “Ship managers and owners provide a significant alternative to institutional capacities for induction of youth into seafaring careers. These initiatives are not yet regulated. The result is that one half of employers invest into training while the other half poach away the output.

“The vast scope of direct entry routes could be fully realised by regulating cadetship programs, allocating quotas in proportion to total manpower employed on owned or managed fleets, and by rewarding the initiatives in an appropriate manner,” he said.

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